Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said that Nicolas Pepe needs to show more consistency in order to start again in the Premier League.
The Ivorian attacker has struggled to find consistency ever since he signed for the Gunners. His first season in North London was challenging as Arsenal had their worst campaign in 25 years. The Gunners had three managers over the course of the 2019/20 season and this didn’t help Pepe as he looked to settle into life in North London. Considering the challenges he faced, his return of eight goals and ten assists in 42 appearances across all competitions was not the worst.
This season, his place in the first team has come under threat due to the arrival of Willian. The Brazilian has started six out of the club’s first seven Premier League games while Pepe has started just one. He has come off the bench in a majority of the games in the league so far this season and has featured in the cup competitions. Despite his inconsistent form this season, he has managed to score three goals and provide two assists in 11 appearances across all competitions.
In the game against Molde, he was far from his best but was involved in a majority of Arsenal’s best moves and scored a great goal. It was a similar story against Dundalk last week. Willian has not been completely convincing so far this season and a number of fans are calling for Pepe to be given more opportunities in the first team.
On what Pepe needs to do to start in the Premier League, Arteta said:
“Consistency. Throughout the game, throughout 90 minutes, every ball, in every action and every time he’s on the ball in the final third he [needs to] make a difference. And do it more and more and more. The final product has to be better, not just from him but if you want to become a top top team and score many more goals then it’s something we have to put higher demands on at the moment. Today he scored a really good goal and got an assist and he can do more. I think he’s on the right path.”
On why Willian is ahead of Pepe in the Premier League pecking order, he said:
“I said to you that I am talking generally. It’s not just Willian or Nico, I think in general consistency-wise in the final third, with the quality that we have, we have to finish more things better. We can improve a lot. That goes for every player, if Nico scores three goals then his aim has to be to score 10. Willian the same, three assists? He needs 10. If we don’t have that mindset then we won’t become the top team that we want to be.”
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